Saturday, May 9, 2015

Still Squeezing By?

I turn 62 next week, and for a few weeks now, lots has been going wrong and lots going right. At this ripe age, part of me still wants to find the formula that will give me a smooth ride. Do I actually want a smooth ride? Not sure. A friend said recently he thought I was a "rebel" according to Gretchen Rubin's book Better Than Before. A rebel being someone who needs her own reason for doing everything, and is not motivated without that key element being part of the landscape. That sounds truer.

Anyway, I have something a little slippery to talk about today, that seems somehow linked to this rebel theme. As an artist, I do batik, silk and bamboo dyeing and patterning, silk painting and shibori mostly, and also teach these skills. My edge is always the juice of discovery and pushing the tide of creativity, both for me and my students. 

I completed a commissioned piece recently that I was unsatisfied with and preceded to do another, closer to my own aesthetic. This was better, but problems arose and in resolving them, I was pushed even further into creating a edgier, more beautiful but risky "art piece." Sure I wanted to please my customer, but the demand of life and art for me to be coherent with who I am/what I am doing as an artist and a connected spiritual being was much stronger.

After years of spiritual journey and believing in the value of inner coherence and transparency, has life finally called me out to stand in this space, and only in this space? Yikes- no more sliding or squeezing by!  

This "inner demand" seems to be everywhere in my life these days. Where before, I was satisfied to be pleasant and easy sometimes for others, now I must find a way to voice what's true for me. And this urge has no regard for how hard this might be, considering I value kindness, too. Is this aging? I think it is for me. Aging seems to be about getting very clear and living it.

Case in point. I'm preparing to facilitate Conscious Aging workshops here in Pennsylvania, and as I study for the certification, I am also beginning to look for partners, places to host the workshops. Although I am very excited about the program, I am getting very little response to my "well crafted" positive emails. 

What's missing? I think its life once again, demanding I have the courage and clarity that the program will demand from its participants, and I'm not quite there yet myself. I've been thinking and saying these kinds of thoughts for so long, while able to slide around a little and chose where to live them and where to slide. Maybe the easy ride is over, replaced with juicy opportunities that offer much deeper satisfaction, along with coherence.

This is a slippery idea. On one hand, I wish to be compassionate toward myself, honor where I am and be transparent in connecting with myself and other people. On the other hand, I am in this spot of inner demand, until I am not. Perhaps I've created no way back. You know the idea that life insists you live at the level of your understanding? Well perhaps life thinks I've had enough wiggle room.

Here's what it looks like now: 

  1. Being conscious of what I am feeling whenever I don't feel wonderful. 
  2. Take the time to feel and understand what I am feeling, and probably say it out loud, without concern for how long it takes. 
  3. Then look at my wholeness, the entire landscape of all the conflicting feelings and needs, order them up and act in an way that's fully in coherence to all of it.
At 62, am I old enough and skilled enough to know myself a little, willing enough, to be clear, coherent and transparent?

There is some relief and comfort inside, that I finally get to do this. That I give it to myself as a big gift. A mature gift, not for the wimpy part, or the 8 year old part of me.

Is this true for you, too? I would love to hear about it.


ami said...

Thank you for sharing your truth and your path. "Slippery" only that this cannot ever be tidily pinned down!

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